It's amazing it's been 7 years. It doesn't seem like that much time has passed. And how different is the country now? And the world, for that matter. I knew it would never be the same, I just didn't realize how.
Joining the fire department gave me a unique perspective on what some of the NY crews must've gone through on that day. You know you sign up for duty and danger will be involved. And every time you pull hose into a burning building, hop on a roof with an axe or use the jaws on a crushed door, you know there's a point where your adrenaline and training take over. And then its over, and you go back to your family, job, etc. You do it because someone has to and you accept all of the sacrifices that comes with it. It's great getting to ride in parades, people asking you about the action you've seen and kids wanting to try on your gear, but it can be a hard life (much harder than most people realize).
On 9-11, I just can't imagine how guys dealt with it mentally. Adrenaline and training don't shield your eyes or your heart from extreme suffering. And for the guys who lost their lives, accepting the ultimate sacrifice, hopefully being unshielded allowed them the witness the ultimate peace.
Part of me is sad right now. But, I'm actually more angry. Angry that we never caught Osama bin Laden (when I beleive we could've right away in Afganistan). Angry that we can't get through an airport line without being strip-searched, but our borders and shipping yards are virtually unprotected. Angry that the Ground Zero memorial still isn't built, 7 years later. Angry that the Iraq war, which was initiated in the name of 9-11, has propogated an increase in terrorism, has destroyed the American economy and killed thousands of lives.
But, life goes on for us. We're the lucky ones. We're not in the line of fire. We weren't in the attacks. We're Americans entitled to rights and freedoms. We make livings, go on vacations and get laid. Try to take some time today to remember how lucky you are. And remembered the men and women who aren't so lucky.